BlackBerry has set out plans to grab a slice of the African mobile money market, beginning with the launch of a feature in Nigeria that lets users send money to each other through the BBM messaging service.
Blackberry may be struggling to compete with Apple and Android in the west, but the Canadian phone maker claims to be seeing strong numbers in Africa, particularly for BBM, which has more than 22 million registered users on the continent sending some 380 million messages a day.
The firm is now setting its sights on the potentially huge mobile payments market, beginning with Nigeria, where it has partnered processor Interswitch to enable people to transfer money or airtime within BBM "as simply as they transfer photos or files," says Matthew Talbot, SVP, emerging solutions, in a blog.
In addition, First Bank of Nigeria's mobile wallet, Firstmonie, is being added as a BBM Shop payment option and a deal has been struck with local outfit Mobile Media Info Tech to bring secure transactions to the to the Shop.
Talbot says that payment developments are also in the pipeline in South Africa, adding "we’re quickly establishing BBM as a leading messaging platform for mobile payments".